Sunday, May 1, 2016

Oh HAIL No...


This past Thursday we had a hail storm to be all hail storms here in our town.  I was at work 30 miles away and wasn't here for it, but Andy was home.  He knew that I wouldn't believe him about how big the hail was so after it stopped he went out and grabbed some and put them in the freezer to show me when I got home.

I put an extra-large egg beside them so you could see the size comparison...


The siding on our house got damaged on the north and west sides, the metal roofs on the two sheds and carport we put up 3 years ago got heavy damage, and both of Andy's cars were sitting out and got damaged.

I don't know if you can see it, but the entry doors to the sheds look like they were pelted with gunfire, though none of the dents made holes...


Andy's Subaru Forester...






Andy's Subaru Baja...






A lot of people lost the windows of their cars like our neighbors did...


Insurance adjusters have descended upon our town and you can see their business cars everywhere as they check out the damage for their customers.  We already have our appointment set up with our adjuster in the coming week.


On a lighter note...
When my friend gave me the quilt tops a few weeks ago, in the bag was a sandwiched "quilt" that was in the process of being tied.  The top and backing were just large pieces of ugly 1970's-looking red fabric but I noticed that what they were using for batting was actually a vintage quilt.  I decided to remove the ties and check out the quilt.  It was in fairly good condition except for the edges.  It had a "knife-edge" finish around the edges and it just didn't hold up to the wear and tear the quilt received.

I cut off 2" all the way around the border and then added a traditional border.  Here is what it looks like now!



The fabric is fragile from age, but it is now a usable quilt again!  

Loretta

Saturday, April 16, 2016

More on the Gifted Quilt Tops...

Quote for the Day:
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. 
~Henry David Thoreau


So here's the story about that last quilt that I showed in my last post about the gifted quilt tops...


It was not good at all.  It didn't lay flat, it was hand-pieced with big stitches, the colored fabric was coarse and loosely woven, the top had some stains on it, and there was a lot of fraying of the seams on the back.  The colored fabric almost reminded me of loosely woven curtain fabric and the cream fabric was tightly woven and had a "sheen" to it.  The top didn't have a square corner on it ANYWHERE and the cream blocks were larger than the 9-patches, so there was no getting it to lay flat.  

I almost tossed it out.  Then I thought about contacting Tim Latimer to see if he wanted it if I sent it to him for free!  (Tim buys vintage quilt tops cheaply, does what he needs to do to fix their "issues", and then hand quilts them into beautiful quilt tops!)  

Finally, I decided to sandwich it and use it to practice free-motion quilting on.  You see, about 18 months ago I had purchased 2 online free-motion quilting courses from Craftsy.com, but had not yet taken them because I was procrastinating.  I've been wanting to expand my FMQing beyond the basic meandering that I normally do, but I never wanted to "practice" on an actual quilt for fear of ruining the quilt.  On the other hand, I didn't want to just take random pieces of fabric and practice on those because...well...that's a waste of fabric and thread..and time.

So I decided to sandwich this poor, pathetic quilt top and practice on it.  If my FMQing was horrible, what did it matter?  The top was in horrible shape anyway, so I wouldn't be "out" anything.  And when I was done, at least I'd have a utility quilt that I could take to the park or use to cover the back seat of the car and not worry about it getting ruined.

So with all of that in mind, I used a cheap piece of fabric that I had picked up at a yard sale for the backing and some pieced-together leftover batting and made a practice sandwich.  I watched the two courses that I had purchased and practiced with a pen and sketchpad first and then practiced on the quilt.  I also watched several youtube videos on different quilting motifs and used those, too.   My ultimate goal was to be able to learn to do free-hand feathers without any marking.

I specifically used a colored thread so that the quilting would show up and I could study it easily and see where I needed improvement.  All of these designs were done free-hand without any marking!!!  There are "tucks" everywhere because the top just wouldn't lay flat...but overall, I was able to quilt it into submission so it doesn't look too bad!!!

This is the final product...










This next design was actually one I came up with on my own and really like it!  



Some free-hand feathers...not too shabby!  They kinda look like feathers!  LOL



I really love this next design...not my own, but one I found online...


And, of course, I had to try writing my name!!!  In the top name I had trouble figuring out the "o" and it came out like an "e", so I had to redo it down below the first one...


Since free-hand feathers were my ultimate goal, I did several blocks of them...
(you can see some tucks in this block)



Overall, I think it turned out well and I got a LOT of practice in!  It ended up being about the size of a throw or couch quilt.  I learned a lot and hope to put it to use in my future quilts!

Loretta

Surprises From a Friend...

Quote for the Day:

“A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect.” 
~Jonathan Lockwood Huie



A couple of weeks ago I came home to work to find a garbage bag sitting in my entryway.  Andy told me a friend had dropped it off and said they were quilting scraps that she had found while cleaning out her mom's place after she passed away.  She thought I might be able to use them.

It was almost a week before I had to time really look in the bag and when I did, under the scraps of fabric I found SEVEN quilt tops!  I contacted my friend and asked for sure that she really meant for me to have these and she confirmed "yes".  She said her mom had been an occasional quilter.  My friend said she thought maybe I would like these unfinished quilts!

They are mixed hand and machine pieced and mostly of feed sacks and shirting fabric.  (There used to be a shirt factory in this town many years ago, so many of the old local quilt tops are made from the end pieces of shirting fabric that you could go buy cheaply from the factory.)

Bubble gum pink scrappy nine-patch...


Scrappy bow-tie laid out in a snowball pattern...


Another bubble gum pink nine-patch...


I don't know this next pattern, but it looks like some sort of posy pattern to me.  Anybody know the name of the pattern?


Another scrappy nine-patch...the border looks like it's from the '70's and doesn't "go" with it, so I'll probably take the border off and add a different one...either of muslin or of a '30's reproduction fabric...


A STUNNING double Irish chain!!!   LOVE THIS ONE!!!


And finally...this Irish chain quilt that had all sorts of issues...but that's for the next blog post!  :)


Here they all are after being measured and tagged...


Most are around 81" x 81" so will only need a border added to make them big enough for a queen-sized bed.  Or I can finish them as they are and they will fit a full-sized bed.  

I think they are beautiful and am blessed that my friend gifted them to me!

Loretta

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Give a Girl a Can of Spray Paint...


Because we have an OLD house that is difficult to heat and cool, we have ceiling fans in every room...except the bathrooms.  Yes, I know all about people not liking ceiling fans these days, blah, blah, blah...   But until one of those ceiling-fan-haters offers to pay my heating and cooling bills, we will continue to use them in our house.

We installed the ceiling fan in the dining room 17 years ago when we moved in.  Towards the end of last summer, it started to make a humming noise that was ANNOYING!  You could hear it really badly in the bedroom right above it...our bedroom!  :(  This year the noise was even worse so I went shopping for a new ceiling fan this week.  WOW, the prices sure have gone up since the last time we bought fans in 2009!!  Since the light worked just fine, I decided to go with just a fan that was light-compatible to save some money.

The new fan was oil-rubbed bronze, but the old fan and light were antique brass.  So...once again...my trusty can of Krylon Oil-Rubbed Bronze spray paint to the rescue!!!  

I took plastic grocery bags and wrapped them around the light sockets to protect them...



Not pictured, but I also took some brown packing paper and stuffed it in the electrical part where the fan and light meet and connect to protect it, too.

The weather was BEAUTIFUL today, so the paint dried quickly.  TADA...perfect shade of oil-rubbed bronze...



You can see how it matches perfectly to the new fan...



LOVE IT!!!  And the new fan is sooooooooooooooo quiet!!!  BTW, this new fan is the Home Depot store brand, but the guy that worked in the department told me that they are made by Hampton Bay.  (I prefer Hunter brand, but just didn't have the finances for it this time around.)  I'm very happy with the way this turned out!

Loretta

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sewing Room Update...



I enlisted Andy's help this past weekend to install some upgrades in my sewing room and I have spent the last 2 days rearranging some things.

The first thing we did was install a new LED light bar ($19.97 from HomeDepot) above this window to illuminate the far end of my sewing table where I use my Singer featherweight, my embroidery machine, and my serger.  You can hang it by the included chains or you can clip it directly to the wall/ceiling using the enclosed clips, which is what we decided to do.  (I was able to eliminate the pole lamp and table lamp that you can see in the foreground of this picture after the new light was installed!)


You can see how dark this end of the table is without it...


...and how much brighter it is with the light on now.  No more shadows!!!


It's official...the astronauts can now see my sewing room from space!  LOL


The other change we made was to add wire shelving above the cutting table to create more storage.  

Before...


It has always bugged me that the wall space above the table was not being utilized, but I wasn't exactly sure how to solve that problem.  I had actually thought of buying upper kitchen cabinets and putting them up there, but wasn't sure about how that would work with the track lights.  A few years ago a friend gave me some ClosetMaid wire shelving and some of the hardware, but I had never put it to use.  I got it out of the basement, cleaned it up, and then went to HomeDepot to get what we needed to add to it to install it.

After...


I had 2 large totes of fabric stored under my sewing tables and I had originally I thought I'd put them in bins up on these shelves.  After contemplating the set-up, though, I decided to move my UFO's to the shelves, thus freeing up 3 shelves in one of my cabinets...and store my fabric on those 3 shelves, instead, keeping the fabric low and within easy reach!  


Those two totes under the cutting table are full of batting pieces in various sizes that I have either joined together to be used, or are still waiting to be joined together to be used.


I specifically put that bottom shelf on the left down low for a reason...
When I am cutting fabric for a quilt, I use the back 1/3 of the table to hold everything that I am using.  The table becomes very cluttered and reduces my usable area until the quilt is finished and all leftovers are cut up and put in the scrap bins.  This way I can use that shelf for temporary storage of what I am currently working on, thus freeing up the ENTIRE table for cutting use!  (I had actually seen a picture online of a person's sewing table and she had a shelf just a few inches above the back of her sewing table to cut down on the clutter that tends to collect there!  Brilliant!)

I buy clean pizza boxes from the local pizzeria and use them for UFO block storage...all labeled with what is inside.  The white plastic containers came from my previous workplace...a piece of equipment came in them and they get thrown away.  They hold UFO's that have smaller blocks.


All of these things were stored on the three middle shelves of this cabinet before...


It now looks like this...


No more large totes under my sewing tables!!!  And ALL of my fabric is easy to find now!  


Loretta